Enigmatic songwriter Jack O'Rourke has enchanted live audiences and fans since the release of his debut album 'Dreamcatcher' in 2016.
Now, the Cork musician – who cites everyone from David Bowie to Tom Waits to Rufus Wainwright as influences - to is preparing to release another new album later this year, which will be preceded by new single 'Opera on the Top Floor'.
The single is out this Friday, June 11th and is described by O'Rourke as “a song whisperer, which opened the floodgates for more songs and an album. I sat at the piano and the melody that took shape to my words was quite folk based - I could imagine Liam Clancy, Sandy Denny or even Lisa O' Neill singing it. It's a story song and a ballad, and I've missed writing ballads.”
To mark the occasion, we caught up with him for a chat.
1. What's the music that you listened to growing up, that you still listen to today?
I was raised on a steady diet of John Prine, Pavarotti, Planxty, Sinatra and Kate and Anna McGarrigle from my parents and they’re still on my playlist.
2. In three words, describe the minute before you walk on stage.
My shirt... questionable.
3. How do you wind down after a gig?
A pint and a deep breath.
4. What’s the one song you wish you’d written first?
'Happy Birthday' for the royalties, or 'Amelia' by Joni Mitchell, because it’s sublime.
5. What’s the last thing you watched on TV?
'The Wire'... I’m on Season 3. McNulty is my everything and Omar could be my life guru.
6. Name one record and one film that everyone should hear / see.
Record :'Meitheal' - Séamus Begley and Steve Cooney. 'Bruach na Carraige Báine' has the most beautiful melody I’ve heard, and the interpretation is so raw and emotive.
Film: I watched 'Call me by Your Name' yesterday for the first time and I cried. The dad’s speech to Elio: “And if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out. Don’t be brutal with it. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.”
7. What's your biggest pet peeve?
Playing piano in a lobby and being asked if I know 'Piano Man'.
8. Who's the most famous person saved to your phone contacts?
Loah or my dad.
9. You’re ordering take-away, what do you get?
Duck pancakes and hoisin sauce or a dirty chips cheese and garlic after a night out.
10. Describe your perfect day off.
A lie-in, a lover, an omelette, tea, Patti Smith’s memoir 'Just Kids' and no deadlines. In that order.
BONUS QUESTION: Recommend a podcast and tell us why we should subscribe to it.
Daniel Lanois with Marc Maron - hearing Daniel talk about his life and how it influenced his sound, building albums with U2, Dylan, Emmylou Harris and Peter Gabriel is fascinating and inspiring. I’d love to work with him.
'Opera on the Top Floor' is released this Friday, June 11th.